Change, upheaval, grief and disappointment have all been significant components of my 2021.
As we move into the final weeks of the year, my hopeful and aspirational word(s) for the year– create + release, have fallen to the background, and the words cozy + less have been coming to the fore. I set a few (because less) intentions for the month of November to help me appreciate and embrace what is.
“‘The present moment is our home.’ (Laird, Ocean of Light)…the present moment is the time and place in which we live, in which the Incarnate One approaches us,” writes Sally Longley in her book, Conversations with Silence.
This is the perfect sentiment to hold as we move towards Advent and a new year.
When Sally Longley’s book came to my attention, my interest was piqued with my collaborative devotional project in mind. Some Comfort and Joy is a fairly new project that has emerged with my friend and fellow writer Gwen Lantz. Following the movements of the liturgical year, we have developed a number of devotional series– bi-weekly emails that feature a comfort (reflection on scripture in light of current life experiences) and a joy (a practice related to the theme of the week). I hoped this book would provide some inspiration for composing future joy posts.
Conversations with Silence is meant to be read slowly– savored. Longley helpfully reminds us that our desert experiences are those places “where old ways of solving problems often don’t work.” And, so she makes the case for engaging in the disciple of silence.
“We may need to be undone first by the work of the Spirit.” Perhaps obvious, but an unwelcome revelation. Longley then offers encouragement through reflections on her own experiences as well as an invitation to a deeper spiritual experience undergirded by thoughtful reflections and practices.
While there are many worthy quotes and nuggets, perhaps most apropo as we move towards the liturgical season of preparation, expectation and waiting, is this reminder:
“One doesn’t need to go on huge expensive pilgrimages to encounter God. Kabir, the fifteenth-century Indian mystic, suggests the great pilgrimage is actually to be still. And God comes to us. When we become still, attentive and seek silence right where we are, God comes as the voice of Love.”
May it be so.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Conversations with Silence from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.